Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Tom Varley
Occupation Caravan park operator
Home town Gisburn
Known for Preserving steam wagons
Spouse(s) Susan
Children David, Terence, Catherine

Tom Varley was a collector of steam-powered vehicles, known for the Tom Varley Collection, a steam museum mostly of steam wagons, "a lasting legacy of which [British steam road enthusiasts] can be proud".[1]

His business was in running Todber Caravan Park at Gisburn, in the high Pennines of Lancashire.[2] The steam museum was housed in a barn alongside the caravans.[3] The collection was best known from its frequent appearances at steam rallies through the 1970s and '80s. Varley's wagons were recognisable from their fine paintwork and signwriting, each named and prefixed Pendle ....

Six of his rarer, and often unique survivors, were re-imported from Australia before restoration.[4]

Tom Varley died in the 1990s. His contribution to the preservation of steam vehicles in the UK has been widely recognised.[1]

List of vehicles

The vehicleslisted have at one point formed part of the Tom Varley collection. Since his death, some have now been sold on to new owners, and several have been renamed by them.
Name Make and No. Reg no. Photo Description / notes
2 Pendle Queen 3 ton Yorkshire steam wagon Works N 940 U 4245
Yorkshire steam wagon, Pendle Queen.JPG

Tom's second steam wagon, rebuilt in 1970.[5] Now owned by Tom's son, David Varley, repainted red and exhibited under his name.[6]

3 Pendle Prince 1931 Fowler steam wagon Works Nº19708. UB 8660 100px Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki:Requested images Rebuilt from remains found in scrap pile in Leeds.[7][8]
5 Pendle King Sentinel DG6P steam waggon Works Nº8562 FD 6603
Sentinel DG6, Pendle King.jpg
1931 11 ton Sentinel DG6P. [notes 1]
7 Pendle Maid 2 ton Yorkshire steam wagon No. 117 CA 170
Yorkshire wagon CA170, cropped (Tractors wikia).jpg

Rebuilt in 1973 by Tom Varley.[9] Restored from bare chassis recovered in Wales. Now owned by John Ward and renamed as Denby Maiden.[5]

8 Pendle Laddie Yorkshire steam wagon, Works Nº WG 2118 UA 1163
Yorkshire steam wagon, Pendle Laddie, front.JPG

Yorkshire WG flexible six wheeler Works of 1927, 'Pendle Laddie'. Rebuilt by Tom Varley from parts recovered by Walter Fearnley. This vehicle was supplied to the Leeds Corporation Electricity Department as a cable carrier.[5]

9 Pendle Knight 1929 Robey 'Express' steam tractor VL 983
Robey steam tractor, Pendle Knight.jpg

Later fitted with pneumatic front wheels.[10] Now renamed as Kernow Knight.[11]

12 Her Majesty Atkinson steam wagon Works Nº72 ? CK 209 Atkinson steam wagon CK 209 - Her Majesty at Preston Rally 2012 - IMG 2752.jpg The last known surviving Atkinson steam wagon,. Exported to Western Australia when new and recovered by Tom Varley in the 1970s.[12][13][14]. Now owned by Preston Steam Services in Kent.
18 Queen Anne Yorkshire steam wagon, Works Nº WG 2128 UA 1788 100px Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki:Requested images . Shaft-drive Yorkshire wagon.[15][16] Originally a chain-drive WG model, this was restored using the shaft-drive gearbox from a later WJ model. The original gearbox and drive was then used for WG 2118.[5]
His Lordship Burrell 10NHP Showmans No. 3444 CK 3403
His Lordship, Burrell Showman's engine.jpg

Sold in 1996 to J. G. Atkinson of the Scarborough Fair Collection.[17]

Unnamed Foden Colonial steam wagon Works Nº4086 - Foden no. 4086 - M4848 Wagon at Belvoir 08 - DSC01233.jpg 5 ton "Colonial" steam wagon. Sold new to C H Curtis, Manly, Australia, then to "Glenreagh " Lake Cargelligo. Recovered and restored by Tom Varley in the 1970s.[18] Sold later to Germany, then returned to UK by Mike Plumb, Norfolk.[19]
unnamed Aveling & Porter steam wagon, Works Nº9282 - 100px Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki:Requested images FGPA steam wagon of 1921. Exported to Australia and recovered by Tom Varley in 1978. Later sold to Peter Rigg of Todmorden.[20][21]
unnamed 1923 Garrett 4 ton undertype steam wagon - 100px Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki:Requested images Works unknown, possibly 34347 Rear axle, gearing and crankshaft re-imported in 1980s. Incorporated into other Garrett wagon restorations.[22]
unnamed Howard traction engine Works Nº24 - 100px Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki:Requested images J. & F. Howard two-speed traction engine of 1872. Re-imported from Australia in 1980[23][24][25] Sold, along with the Aveling & Porter, to Peter Rigg of Todmorden.[26]
unnamed 1921 Foster 5 ton steam wagon Works Nº14077 SV 5506 100px Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki:Requested images The last surviving Foster wagon. Re-imported from Australia by Tom Varley in 1983.[27] Now named William Tritton [28]

Note some images are from more recent times with new owners.


  1. Tom had a Sentinel waggon from the Aberdeen Coal & Shipping company. This may be the same waggon.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Derek Rayner (2003). Steam Wagons. Shire, Foreword. “Dedicated to the late Tom Varley, whose personal devotion to the acquisition of rare and unique steam wagons – sometimes from far and distant lands – and their subsequent restoration has left British steam road enthusiasts a lasting legacy of which they can be proud.” 
  2. "Memories of Gisburn".
  3. "Glorious Gisburn", Old Glory (8): 11–12. May/June 1990. 
  4. "List of known exported engines".
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Surviving Yorkshire Steam Wagons". Michael Walters.
  6. "U4245 (David Varley)". Flickr.
  7. in Ran Hawthorne: Steam Wagons & Tractors. National Traction Engine Club, 6. 
  8. Sandymain @ Flickr. "UB 8660 (Tom Varley)". Flickr.
  9. "CA 170 (Gisburn)". Flickr.
  10. "VL 983 side". Flickr.
  11. "Kernow Knight".
  12. "CK 209 (Lake Goldsmith) side". Flickr.
  13. "Chariots of Fire", Old Glory (1): 10–15. Summer 1998. 
  14. Aus exports, 8
  15. "UA 1788 (T Varley) front". Flickr.
  16. "UA 1788 (T Varley) side". Flickr.
  17. "Burrell 10NHP Showman's Road Locomotive 'His Lordship'".
  18. Aus exports, 59
  19. "Plumb loco!", Old Glory (204): 54–60. February 2007. 
  20. Aus exports, 2
  21. "Aveling & Porter Steam Wagon 1921. Cumbria steam gathering (Peter Rigg)" (2005).
  22. Aus exports, 76
  23. Aus exports, 80
  24. Marcel Gommers (1987). "Howard No24".
  25. "Howard No24" (1990). also a three-quarter view
  26. "J & F Howard Traction Engine 24, 1872. Cumbria steam gathering (Peter Rigg)" (2005).
  27. Aus exports, 75
  28. Rayner, 2003, p. 16

External links

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